City Directories and History: Constructed in post WWII, circa 1949.
The Yorkville Enquirer reported on May 31, 1893 – The ARP Church in Clover is completed and has been used two or three times. The dedication services have been held and were followed by the formal organization of the church with 20 names enrolled. The elders are: Mr. Zimri Carroll, Mr. Z.M. Neil, and Dr. E. W. Pressly. Decon are: Samuel V. Wallace, W.B. Stroup, and A.M. Wallace. Clover now has three regularly organized white churches and one or two colored.
CLOVER ASSOCIATE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH – by Paul Gettys
Associate Reformed Presbyterians have been in York County since before the American Revolution, coming as part of the movement of Scots-Irish in the early phases of European settlement. Early churches in western York County include Sharon (1796), Bethany (1797), and Tirzah (1803). The Town of Clover grew up around the Carolina and Northwestern Railroad in the late 1800s. Members from Bethany and other ARP churches began to move to the new town. Dr. Robert Milton Stevenson, pastor at Bethany, began preaching once a month in Clover in the early 1890s for the convenience of his members who had moved there. Soon a desire grew to form a church in Clover.
A small frame church was erected at a cost of $1,200 and the congregation was organized on May 24, 1893 by a commission of First Presbytery. The new building was dedicated at the same service, at which Rev. James Strong Moffatt, pastor of the Chester ARP Church preached. Rev. Stevenson was named pastor and the officers elected were Elders Zimri Carroll, Z. M. Neill, and Dr. Ebenezer W. Pressly and Deacons W. B. Stroup, A. M. Wallace, and S. V. Wallace.
Rev. Stevenson was born in Fairfield County, SC in 1860 and received degrees from Erskine College and Erskine Theological Seminary. He graduated from the seminary in 1880 and served several churches in Virginia until 1886. He then returned to South Carolina and was called as pastor of the Bethany church in York County. In 1892, he helped to organize the Crowders Creek church, just across the state line in North Carolina and in 1893 the Clover church. He served all three churches, dividing his time one-half to Bethany and one-quarter to the newer churches. This arrangement lasted until 1911, when Rev. Stevenson resigned his pastorates to move to Due West, where he served in numerous capacities. He was editor of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian, a monthly church magazine, wrote Sunday School curriculum, and taught in the college and seminary at Erskine. He retired from these positions in 1940 and died in 1942.
During the ministry of Rev. Stevenson, the young church developed an active ministry in several areas. The Women’s Society was organized in March 1893, before the organization of the church itself. The women began pledging funds to missions by 1896, and were active supporters of the denominational orphanage. In later years, the Women of the Church have provided furnishings for the sanctuary, such as collection plates, carpet, and a piano. The Sunday School was also organized at an early date.
The second pastor of the Clover church was Rev. William Pressly Grier, who was installed on July 5, 1912 as pastor of Bethany, Clover, and Crowders Creek. Rev. Grier was born in Due West to a family with strong roots in his denomination. His father, Paul Livingston Grier, was professor of math at Erskine College and his grandfather was Dr. R. C. Grier, president of the college. His mother was Effie Pressly Grier, daughter of Dr. W. L. Pressly, president of the Erskine Seminary. He grew up in Due West and graduated from the college and seminary there. He served the three churches of Bethany, Crowders Creek and Clover for most of his career as a minister. His pastorate was marked by strong growth in membership in all three churches and construction of new buildings to serve the growing congregations. The combined membership of the three churches grew from 390 in 1912 to 932 in 1941. In 1946, because of the growth in Clover, Rev. Grier resigned his pastorates at Bethany and Crowders Creek to devote his full time to the Clover church. Rev. Grier retired in 1952, having devoted 40 years of his life to the ministry in Clover and surrounding areas. The Clover church had grown during his ministry to a membership of over 400.
During the ministry of Rev. Grier, the church facility was greatly expanded. The original sanctuary was enlarged and covered in brick in 1912. In 1930, an educational building was constructed to the rear of the sanctuary to support the growing church program. The two-story brick building cost $13,000 and included 16 classrooms and an assembly room. During the 1940s, funds were collected for several years for the erection of a new sanctuary. The construction began in 1949 with the firm of Wilson and Ledford of Gastonia, NC as the contractors. The new sanctuary, which continues to serve the church, was completed at a cost of $64,185. The first service was held on December 18, 1949.
The next pastor was Rev. James Calvin Smith. He was born in Troy, Tennessee and attended Bryson College in Tennessee before completing his degree at Erskine College. He graduated from Erskine Theological Seminary in 1933. He served a number of ARP churches in South Carolina, Missouri, Alabama, and Arkansas before coming to Clover in July 1953. The Smith family was treated to a brand new brick manse, which was completed at the end of 1953 on Bethel Street at a cost of $20,000.
In the 1960s, the Clover church purchased a lot to the rear of the church for parking and for future expansion. This dream was realized in 1989 with the construction of a new fellowship hall and later with a family life center.
Recent ministers have been Rev. David M. Bonner, Rev. J. R. Wolff, Rev. Calvin W. Todd, Rev. Calvin Draffin, Rev. Robert E. Patrick, III, Rev. Evan English, and Rev. Mark Miller.
Rock Hill Herald, December 11, 1965.
Centennial History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Charleston: Walker, Evans & Cogswell, 1905.
Sesquicentennial History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Clinton, SC: Jacobs Brothers Printers, 1951.
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